NASL awards expansion team to Virginia

The New York Cosmos and Ottawa Fury will not be the only new NASL teams introduced in the next couple of years.

NASL officially announced on Monday evening that it has given Virginia an expansion franchise set to begin playing in 2014. The new franchise will be based in northern Virginia and the team is expected to play its games at future Ballpark located in Ashburn.

The club owners, VIP Sports & Entertainment and Loudoun Professional Soccer, LLC, have also announced that there will be an upcoming contest for fans to determine the team name.

The announcement of Virginia’s expansion club means NASL will have 11 teams in 2014. The Cosmos are set to join the league in 2013 and Ottawa will enter in 2014.

The news of Virginia being given a team also comes just three days after NASL announced Minnesota Stars FC would return to the league in 2013. A new Minnesota-based ownership group agreed to a deal to buy the team from the league, who owned and operated the Stars during each of the past two seasons.

What do you think of NASL giving Virginia an expansion club? Happy to hear northern Virginia will get a team, or is there a city that is more deserving?

Share your thoughts below.

  • 2tone

    I would have to say that soccer is more than healthy now in the states.

    MLS should cap out at 22 teams.


    • quozzel

      22 teams? No way – MLS needs to target 32-36 teams by 2025, divided into East and West. There’s huge areas of the country not remotely covered by MLS yet, particularly the Southeast. Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa all could easily support MLS franchises and there’s not a single team south of DC at the moment. St. Louis and Pittsburgh could support franchises in the rust belt. Texas could easily support another one – Fort Worth, San Antonio, El Paso, you name it – and San Diego and probably Sacramento as well in California. Cascadia’s so insane about soccer you could plug a franchise in anywhere around the I-5, probably Eugene, and it would fly. Boise is a big soccer demographic. I even think you could probably reach further and put an MLS franchise in Jamaica if you could get the stadium support – building in inland Jamaica is not always an easy thing, but the fan support would surely be there.

      England supports 80 pro teams, and it has a population of 60 million. The USA has 300 million, Canada has another 30 million, and soccer is the second most popular sport among kids age 12-24 in North America. There really isn’t a cap on how big soccer can get in either the USA or Canada.


      • Eurosnob

        Good points about England vs. US and the numerous cities that could support a soccer team. However, in England (and most other countries) soccer is based on the free market and competitive principles, while in the US it is not. USSF and MLS are happy to have the system with no promotion and relegation. An MSL club can produce mediocre product year after year and have no real consequences. If a third division team like Swansea hires a good manager and makes good decisions, it can eventually make it to the top division and its hard work is rewarded. And they have no salary cap to protect owners who have lousy attendance because they put together a bad product! In contrast, a second or third division team in US soccer has absolutely no hope to be in the top division even if they hired a top notch manager, brought in quality players and played magnificent soccer.


      • Big Chil

        There’s no promotion & relegation in any of the big American sports. We like our parity.


      • quozzel

        My feeling is eventually the lack of promotion/relegation will change. The fans will demand it and grassroots growth outside the control of MLS will spur it. The NASL is technically a “second” division league but that won’t last – what will eventually happen, especially if MLS tries to limit expansion artificially, is that the NASL will emerge as a parallel, rival organization to MLS, and since the key to their success will be inclusion and unrestricted free-market spending, you won’t see the NASL trying to artificially limit their top dogs the way MLS does. Witness the way the New York Cosmos decided to finally re-launch as an NASL team…not because they didn’t have the $100 million for the MLS entry fee, but because they wanted to spend that money instead on infrastructure and players instead. The Cosmos will pour money into their franchise, sign who they want to sign, pay what they want to pay…and in very short order they’ll be on a par or better than an MLS franchise and they’ll go out hunting the MLS teams in formats like the US Open and CONCACAF Champions League. I think you’ll see several “indie” superclubs arise in the next few years outside the control of MLS in this fashion, especially as market trends tilt heavily towards geometric popularity growth in soccer and big corporate sponsors start lining up behind the game.

        At that point you have an AFL/NFL type situation, and eventually you get a merger agreement…that includes promotion, relegation, and vastly more relaxed spending controls, probably more akin to the Financial Fair Play rules coming down in Europe.


      • Neal

        Can see your line of thinking, a la NFL/AFL. But curious about what sort of time line you might estimate. I’d definitely bet the over on that one


      • Rob

        There’s an awful lot of stupid in this post. The Cosmos entered NASL to put themselves in a better position to be awarded the MLS expansion.


      • Michael Stypulkoski

        That is insane. You think MLS should have more teams than the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL? What makes you think the country would/could support that number of teams? As dominant as the NFL is, many of its teams struggle to turn profits, and they’re in much larger markets than Boise. (Boise? The city whose highest level of professional sports is a Class A baseball team? You think they’re a prime candidate to support an MLS franchise?) There have been MLS teams in the South, and they have failed. The South is all about college (sometimes high school) football. Pro sports struggle there. That’s why, for instance, there is only one baseball team; three if you include Florida, which has two teams with atrocious attendance.

        Yes, there are many professional teams in England. It is also far and away the most popular sport there, with relatively little competition. MLS competes with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, minor league sports, etc. And yes, soccer is popular with kids. But kids aren’t buying season tickets or cable packages to watch their favorite teams.

        MLS has succeeded thus far by being conservative. If they over-expanded it would be disastrous.


      • Charles

        He is not saying do it tomorrow. MLS has a much small salary base than the NFL and way more games. trying to support teams playing out $100 million in baseball is more than 30 times harder than trying to support teams with $3 million in salaries.
        I say 40 teams will be were is stops eventually. Whether fast or slow, we will see.


    • NOVA lifer

      As a resident of Northern Virginia I can tell you that this region is more than capable of supporting a soccer team. Playing in the IPL I can tell you that we regularly draw one thousand fans to indoor games in the middle of the winter. The Northern Virginia and DC areas are so densely populated that there is often a disconnect between the United and those who live south of DC along the I-95 corridor. I can’t wait to watch competitive games without having to deal with DC traffic and praking! (Not that NOVA is better)


    • Tyler Kitchens

      We do. Your argument is akin to the notion that people in London shouldn’t support the teams that arent in the Prem. The point I’m getting at is that our Metro region can support more than one team especially in NoVa.


  • el paso tx-we love soccer

    El Paso texas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we eat and Sh*t soccer!!!!!!!!!!!! we have everything to support a NASL team just like San Antonio.


  • Chris G

    NOVA soccer scene is strong. Hope they can set something up the Kickers somehow and start a little rivalry


  • Riggis

    Wow! Being a Northern VA resident this is the first I’ve heard of this. It will be interesting to see how this effects DC Uniteds chase for a SSS. From what I remember hearing… Northern VA was never a serious consideration for United because of the inability to secure public funding and now this news? I would rather support United but if they can’t get a deal done and have to move the franchise then an NASL Northern Va based team would be better than nothing I guess. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen and we can enjoy watching United playing Major League Football in downtown DC in their own SSS.


    • Tyler Kitchens

      We’re making a ton of progress on the stadium front. I would expect it to be done within 3yrs. Would probably be sooner if not for the bureaucratic mess that is DC City Gov’t. Wouldn’t mind seeing the team called the Diplomats in honor of the Washington Dips from back in the day.


    • RK

      This stadium is completely different. It’s small and doesn’t need to be located near public transportation — or even centrally located.


  • Shakhtar

    Rochester needs to jump to the NASL (along with the Charleston Battery). It makes me sad to see a team with a SSS and good local support floundering around in the 3rd tier.


      • meh

        Orlando City was in the USL camp during the TOA/NASL split. They favor the USL people and/or dislike the NASL people.

        Plus, they intend somehow to get into MLS, so no sense paying the USL expansion fee, then paying the NASL expansion fee, only to have to pay the MLS expansion fee a few years later.

        I don’t see Orlando going to NASL unless 1) MLS looks unachievable in the short term, and 2) this causes their stay in USLP to look like stagnation to their fans, thus needing to move up to NASL to keep the impression of forward momentum.


    • footy

      True. Rochester should jump, as well as the Battery. But maybe they don’t meet the standards imposed on division 2, like having an owner with at least 20 mil on his account. It;s a shame though they draw good crowds.

      I think Orlando City will skip NASL and go straight into MLS.


  • Jason

    It should be a Hispanic-style team not mimicking Chivas USA, but with all of the Salvadorian-American population out on the east coast, it would be nice to see a team in that format for if anything, the increased interest in lower division futbol here in the states.


      • Eurosnob

        DCU home games have plenty of Hispanics and most of them are great supporters.


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